I grew up in Alaska. I walked to the bus stop every day in the pitch black mornings… we don’t have street lights in the valley I grew up in. I’d come home from the neighbor’s house after dark, on a game trail through the woods. I’ve stood 10 feet from a Mamma Grizzly bear and her two cubs, in a river, with three fish on a stringer behind me. I’ve stood on the deck and watched the same, familiar moose wander through the yard with her calves. I’ve done countless hikes into the complete wilderness with my family.
I’ve never hiked alone.
Yep—that’s right. I’ve never ventured out on to a trail by myself. Why? Because I’m scared. But not because of wild animals or kidnappers. Because I’m afraid to disconnect and truly be alone with myself.
Who am I supposed to talk to?! The dog isn’t going to talk back…
I’ve always been a social person (maybe overly so) and silence is scary. To me. I took a trip to Alaska a few weeks ago, sans hubby, and CRAVED hiking. Seriously, you guys—I wanted nothing to do with the gym, I just wanted the mountains. My sister was in school all day, so I had ample hiking time. I asked my mom a hundred times before she left if this trail was okay to do alone, if I was safe on another trail, etc…
I never went alone.
Honestly, I’m not really sure what I meant by “safe” when asked my mom about trails. Did I mean bears? Did I mean crazy serial killers? Did I mean terrain or accessibility?
I was hiding behind all of those ^^ really (for an Alaskan girl) normal things. Well, not serial killers… maybe serial killer bears, but even THAT is unlikely. I think safety was the wrong question to ask.
Is it acceptable to hike alone? Will I be okay (mentally) if I hike alone? Will I be able to disconnect and enjoy nature? I think those are the questions I needed to ask myself.
The answer is YES…. fucking YES!!! I CAN hike alone. I WILL be okay.
There are women out there who have done the entirety of the Pacific Crest Trail, the Oregon Desert Trail and the Appalachian trail (I’m positive there’s more) ALONE! What am I waiting for? Since I’ve taken a step back and evaluated why I’ve never hiked alone I’ve realized that I NEED to. I’m excited to feel the empowerment of conquering a peak solo. I NEED to do this to remind myself that despite what the world is telling me, women are powerful. The insignificance I feel every day when I drag myself to work— I truly believe that a solo trip into the mountains will give me that rock solid reminder that I desperately need.
I won’t lie to you—I’m scared. I’m nervous. I planned to go a few days ago but I made an excuse. All of those same fears are there. But solo hiking, I’m COMING FOR YOU IN TWO DAYS, dammit. There’s just something about mountain air that makes me feel at home like nothing else does.
Being powerful (for me) isn’t about having the power. It’s about knowing, in my heart, that I have a powerful soul.